When I started this trip through South America almost 3 years ago I had no idea what to expect. My bicycle “touring” experience could all be summed up in a tumultuous three week trip to Perú where I spent half of the time with my head hovering over a toilet while suffering from typhoid and a quick one week trip through Norway that resulted in an emergency room visit with frostbite on my toes that still affects me today. I was working on roughly a 5% success rate. Would I quit my “stable job” of almost ten years only to head off into the Andes all by myself and realize that this just wasn’t my thing? Come crawling back a few weeks later, asking for a do-over? I honestly had no idea and these were extremely realistic possibilities in my mind. All I knew was that I’d regret it if I didn’t try.
Long before July’s sweltering heat, we were enjoying the pleasant month of March. I had been sitting on my porch sipping coffee when my friend Todd texted me, “I’m going to email you about the thing, so look out.” We’ve collaborated on many wild ideas, and Todd’s been a good friend for over a decade. I usually perk up when he reaches out about “things” because he’s a great adventure planner, so I kept a close eye on the inbox. Lucky for me, it was an email saying that all the plans were coming together for an idea we had been tossing around for quite a while; a multi-day bike camping trip to uncover the inspiration for the Coal x Swift collaboration project with artist and illustrator, Chris McNally in the Marin Headlands of California.
One year and a week ago, a vehicle’s faulty catalytic converter ignited roadside vegetation igniting a blaze that would consume 96,901 acres of Sierra and Sequoia National Forest, eventually closing Yosemite for the first time in the National Park’s history. This was the first “big” fire of the indomitable 2018 fire season that torched the Western U.S. and serving as an unwelcome backdrop to this 12-minute major motion picture.
“When illustrator Chris McNally invited us on a bicycle adventure through his expansive Northern California backyard, we knew we were in for a wild ride. Starting and ending at his Mission District studio, Chris would lead us on an epic 4-day tour of the SF and Marin County landmarks and landscapes that have inspired his work, and also inspired two great Seattle adventure brands—Coal Headwear and Swift Industries—to create “The Headlands Collection”.
“Drawn Away” is a story about creating close-to-home adventures with the freedom that bikes offer; about uncovering the hidden treasures and secret spots at the interface of the built and natural environments, where urban bleeds into rural, and rural into wilderness; about slowing the pace and making space for inspiration and creativity; and about the importance of building community one pedal stroke—and one brush stroke—at a time!”
The Skid Lizards are Oregon-based friends with bikes, bags, and jobs. Flies fear them; fish do not. This mission would involve exploring the Metolius River’s length, purity, and gravel – from head to tailwaters and back again.
It’s coming! June 22nd is rapidly approaching. Do you know where you’re going for the 2019 Swift Campout? Head to Swift Industries to see who is hosting a Summer Solstice Campout in your city. We’ll be in Bozeman with Alter Cycles and Sklar Bikes. We’ll be doing around 20 miles of dirt road climbing up to Mystic Lake to camp under the Big Sky!
Share your local ride details in the comments and check out some inspirational photos below!
I was looking at everyone’s legs. The group of 13 included professional and semi professional racers, life-long athletes focused specifically on their relationship to the bicycle. There aren’t six packs; there’s, like, eight to ten pacs. Some even have muscular faces! How is that even possible to accomplish? Seeing my own soft animal body as lesser than their impressive builds. The grass kept getting greener and greener on the other side of my eyeballs and I felt myself getting smaller and smaller. Where in my body is this discomfort living? I had three days and the grand views around beautiful Big Sur to find the site of where this discomfort lived in my body. Aside from physical discomfort from physical exertion, I came up empty. Instead, I found an interstice where feelings of awe grew and that became my saving grace.
“Cruzar” is a short video, documenting Patagonia’s Lake District, Carretera Austral, and Chiloé Island.
The We Love Where We Ride series continues with Brady Lawrence, a videographer, who in 2015 rode 7,500 miles to raise support for the National Parks Service.
More of this please! High production value, great scenery and interesting story.
“Ride To Extraordinary is a new on-demand documentary series. Season #1 focuses on the TNGA (The Trans North Georgia Adventure). TNGA is more than a bikepacking race. It’s a test of will and endurance. It’s 357 miles filled with more than 50,000 feet of grueling climbs, wicked downhills, river crossings, hike-a-bikes, wild bears, boars, snakes – all in the blistering heat and unrelenting humidity of a Georgia summer. What makes someone do this? Ride along as bikers push past their own limits and face the darkest nights of their souls in the quest to go from Ordinary to Extraordinary. Season #1 kicked off April 30th with Episode #1, with new episodes and content available weekly on Tuesdays until completion of the series in July.”
Check out the full season at Vimeo.
Technology can get a bad rep in these busy modern times but in instances like this, it brings the world together.
The annual 2 Days of Cold Toes is a ride from Laporte, Colorado, up the Poudre Canyon, for an overnight campout next to the Poudre River. The riders stayed warm next to the fire as evening temps bottomed out at 10˚. The 2 Days of Cold Toes is one ride of many in the Winter Ralleye Series. In its 16th year, the WRS serves riders in Northern Colorado, and beyond, with a reason to brave the winter by bike with a group of friends. Thanks to @cyclingforlongevity for sharing!
Dispatch From the Badlands
Photos and words by Carmen Aiken
On the dotted line to Sheep Mountain Table, I suddenly brake. Something tilts in my nervous system, tugs. The summer’s off-pavement riding has me forgetting the sweetness of an emptiness’s quiet when your contraption and all the nonsense it carries is, for a moment, still. What do you matter? The rocks rest as they wont to do, I suppose, the world ticks to its own endless motion, even as it’s stupidly being timed and quantified on devices it doesn’t give a shit about.
Down by the River with Golden Saddle Cyclery and the Swift Campout
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
We wanted to do something very different for this year’s Swift Campout. For the last three years, we’ve been dragging people up the steepest fire roads in the Angeles Forest on their fully-loaded touring bikes, carrying gallons of water. With each year getting hotter and hotter, we wanted to find water for people to cool down in. At first, we thought the beach, but after looking into it, we discovered that we’d have better odds of winning the lottery than getting a camping spot for 30 plus people at the beach.
Adam’s Performance Synapse
Photos by Spencer Harding, words by Spencer Harding and Adam
A little over a year ago Adam sent me a photo of a rigid 26” bike with a Crust Clydesdale cargo fork on it, which he said was his “baja divide rig.” This would be enough to strike fear into the heart of anyone receiving Nicolas’ emails about the Baja Divide Grand Depart exclaiming “MUST HAVE 3 INCH TIRES!”
Nonetheless, he rolled up to the start on that janky Synapse (the name was crossed out and replaced with Deep Search ala The Life Aquatic). Adam being the extremely adaptable trash panda he is, he made it pretty damn far on the Baja Divide with that rig.
Civic’s merino boxers piqued my interest when they first launched.
Over the past few years, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect merino boxer short and before you cite that as ridiculous, hear me out. Back in 2014, during our Oregon Outback tour, I developed severe chaffing from my bib shorts during the first 20 miles of the event and was worried. I had over 350 miles to go on this challenging course and could barely walk. The worst of it was I only packed one pair of merino boxers to wear at camp. Having no other option, I ditched the bibs and put on the boxers under my shorts, along with some Neosporin and that became my kit for the day. Again, apologies for the details here. The next morning I felt great and continued to wear boxers, in lieu of bibs up until this day. Unless I’m on a road ride, on a road bike, I haven’t worn bibs since.
Editor’s Intro: Kyle from Outershell and his friend John Blackwell took on the fabled Stagecoach 400 route last winter, writing up a damn good ride Reportage with photos of this rugged trail. I included Kyle’s note at the bottom that John’s bike was stolen, so keep your eyes out for a 29+ Falconer! Also included are the Outer Shell products used here, in case you were wondering.
Day 1: Mid March 2018. Me, John Blackwell and Jason Silverek meetup in San Diego one morning to ride the Stagecoach 400 route, a 400-mile bikepacking race that was supposed to start the same day. We were starting in southern San Diego, at the midpoint of the route. The actual race starts and ends in Idyllwild. Unfortunately for us, the race start was delayed due to a big storm coming in and the prospects of precarious mud conditions. Our plan was to hightail it all the way to the desert, getting through the would-be muddiest sections outside of San Diego before the storm came. We were all hung over.
The story behind this film is so interesting…
“The film follows my cousin, Zack, and I as we half bike-pack half bike ride across the US with cameras to uncover the dark story behind how or why our grandmother died suddenly from mesothelioma, an asbestos-caused cancer.
We made this film because we wanted people of our generation to know the truth about the fucked up problem of asbestos. It’s something that corporations and the government have covered up for years. Fun fact – the California state rock, serpentine, commonly contains a form of asbestos called “chrysotile”!
We are in the middle of our film festival run and are showing at the Newport Beach International Film Festival on Wednesday, May 2nd @ 7:30PM.”
See more at Asbestos Movie.